A hilarious pseudo-history of marketing management, which explicitly denies resemblance to any actual history, and which will be horrified if some semblance be found. ‘A dog eat dog-food world’ is the story of a man who discovered that the path of life is strewn with treadmills and, if you get on one by mistake, you could keep running all your life to stay in the same place. The story of how just minding your own business can lead to unexpected consequences, guided by the ‘invisible hand’ of long dead economists. Anything you learn from the book – be it the basics of marketing management or a satirical view of Society – you do at your own risk.
The tale only dogs the doings of Spike Fortune who only sought to feed dogs and Jerry Fortune who, being fortuneless, gets dragged helter-skelter by his uncle Spike’s careening pursuit of commercial success; Spike’s rival Tom Rich, who is unwillingly dragged into upstaging Spike and tries to do it by teasing the palates of cats, helped by the bumbling efforts of his nephew, Jasper Rich who would rather be chasing girls than chasing cats.
The difficulty with history is that you never know whether that is the way it really happened. There is always this niggling question – Did the good guy win or did the winner proclaim himself to be the good guy? You know how it is – the winner is always the good guy and, if he murdered, raped and pillaged, it is only because the poor chap was forced to do so. And, of course, the winner is also going to wax eloquent about how he was not only fearless and astute, but was also steeped in virtue.
Let us assume that the winners have virtue sloshing inside them and overflowing from their ears. You still do not know whether the chap, who was most energetic in getting the victory, got the credit for it or whether he got sidelined by his colleague, who was more energetic in claiming the victory. While the former is still getting back his breath from his exertions, the latter could well have been yelling, “I won! I won!”, and having the entire populace fawning on him.
As if that is not enough, you have a further problem of what gets touted as a victory. For example, can any achievement, which is valued only by the lazy chaps, get written in the books of History? Achievements that cause ecstasy to the lazy man will remain unsung, simply because he is too lazy to sing hosannas to the achiever. All of us have heard about James Watt and his sterling contribution to the steam engine – merely because he made it possible for the rest of the world to run around in circles faster than before. Can you name the person who invented the arm-chair? That poor chap rests in relative obscurity merely because the man lolling around in the arm-chair – with a book in one hand and a glass of beer in the other – is unlikely to be jumping around, buttonholing people and singing the praises of the inventor. It would spoil his relaxation, make him spill the beer all over himself, and ruin his day.
Such, then, are the ways of the world. You can change the entire life experience of the indolent with the fruits of your intellect and you shall live and die like that ‘violet born to blush unseen’. You could merely change the design of a button for the energetic man and be feted by ‘crowned heads and coronets’ – or, in modern terms, by double-breasted suits and designer dresses. It is not merely enough for YOU to be energetic – it is also necessary that you benefit the energetic.
It is one thing for a person to make a place for himself in History. To make History, though, is wholly a different matter. To make History you not only need to change yourself, you also need to interfere with and change other people. You need to kick people out of their comfortable rut, drown out their pathetic pleas that ‘what ain’t broke don’t need fixing’, and force change on them. Everyone may happily intone ‘Change is the only constant in life’ but it is truly a rare person who actually thinks that it will happen to him. (It is much like saying, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes”. You never really accept the fact that you will die one day, and you never lose the belief that you can successfully evade taxes.) So, for someone to make history, he really needs to exert himself. Pushing one man to change is a herculean enough task – pushing the vast majority of humanity to change is of the stuff of nightmares.
I know – the moment we talk of making History, there will be a chorus chanting the names of Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi and such others. Really? Even after conveniently deifying them, so that we can all say, “Ah! But I am no Mahatma” as an excuse for not following their tenets, and continuing on our joyous journey of hatred, violence and corruption? I don’t think so. They have made a place for themselves in History but on the issue of whether they have made history, measured by whether they have changed the way WE live, I am afraid that the jury is out and showing no signs of returning in the near (or far) future.
Of course, there are other individuals who have made History and proved themselves capable of making lasting changes. The roll-call of honour includes people like Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler. It is a fact that the easiest way to make History is to make war. I mean, if you were to say, “How dare the people from the next street take a twig from our street? Do they think we are cowards, and they can deal with us so despicably? Let us go and bash them up”, you would possibly assemble a gang ready to follow you into mayhem. Just try saying, “There is no point in waiting for the government to clean up the streets. It is our street after all. Let us get together and clean it up”. You will find that people do have paranormal powers, after all. The speed with which they disappear can only be explained by telekinesis.
So, yes, it is easier to make History by making war. Getting together a gang of people to butcher others is simpler and, as for making changes in the others, it is easier to beat the change into them than to drill a new idea into their heads by reasoning. It is amazing how receptive people become to new ideas when you poke a sword in the guts or put a gun to their heads. So, periodically, we have had these people coming in and changing the world by spreading their own people all over the earth, spreading their ideas and their culture. Once you do things like that, you can become the Emperor or ‘the Great’ or the ‘Fuehrer’ and enthuse the coming generations to follow in your footsteps – another lasting change.
People of latter days have ascribed either physical or mental disorders as reasons for the abnormal energy and activity of these individuals. Some of these hyper-achievers are said to be suffering from mental derangement due to syphilis; some have been called megalomaniacs and some are said to be over-compensating for an inferiority complex. So, there is something other than normal about these people that makes them do what they do.
As in History, so in pseudo-history. What you are about to read is the pseudo-history of a man who changed the world and a rare achiever who did that without making war – at least, not war as we conventionally understand the word. He, too, started out suffering from a disorder. A strange one!
Incidentally, difficult though it must be to believe, the world was not always run by computers and a cell-phone was not something that could only be removed from the body by surgery. One of the various amazing and unbelievable things, that History talks of, is the tale of times when neither of these was the case. As with History, so with pseudo-history. The times of this tale were bereft of computers and cell-phones BUT this is still pseudo-history and not fantasy.
From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow – or, in modern metaphor, from the tiny micro-chip does the mighty Information Technology industry spring. The genesis of the world-changing revolution was a simple visit by a doctor. And the ailment was….
Congratulations Suresh (CS) for the solo debut paperback! I am very much impressed!
The Reader’s Heart…
Having read author’s previous works, I had huge expectations on this book and I must say that “A Dog Eat Dog-Food World”, impressed me right from the prologue. To be frank, the prologue is out of the world.
What followed is a brilliant management story that revolves around the reality of life. The character details, their styles and tones is very impressive. The chat conversation between Jerry and Spike, Tom and Jasper, played well in the middle chapters. The so-called innovations, the marketing strategies, is very close to the reality. In fact, this is what happening today in the market. Popular brands in India follows the same technique to attract people and make a fool out of them.
The book has its own twists and turns, keeping me hooked till the very end, but there was no surprise element in the end, at least to me. This book is a quick read. I took two hours to complete the book and one hour to write this review.
If you are looking for a humorous storyline to free yourself from all the stress, then read this book to laugh continuously.
What I liked?
The storyline of the book is very impressive. The author has taken up a challenging subject and passed colourfully.
What I disliked?
There’s nothing I disliked in this book.
Why should one read this book?
The reality. The story of us. The market and the management concepts behind this book.
Writing Style: 5/5
Book Cover: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
Title: A Dog Eat Dog-Food World
Author: Suresh Chandrasekaran
Year of Publication: 2016
Price: 150 INR
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